Methodological Limitations of Survey Research1

Guide on How To Write Survey Questions

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A well-crafted survey is extremely important for businesses to make data-driven decisions. Businesses have questions – about customers, their preferences, their opinions, etc. 

Conducting a survey is one approach to posing these questions to your clients. It all boils down to asking a few questions, circulating them among the users, and analyzing the results. Doesn’t it seem to be simple? Well, let us tell you that it isn’t as easy as it sounds. 

The first step is to write survey questions that focus on the purpose of the survey. Framing good survey questions is a skill in itself. This is because poorly-designed questions can lead to bad results which will ultimately lead to bad decisions. 

If you are not so sure about writing survey questions, you can also download pre-made survey templates from any robust online survey software. A survey template is designed by professional researchers on various research topics. 

Before we get distracted, let’s talk about how to create surveys. This article will help you learn the best survey practices for creating effective survey questions that offer relevant insights and data.

Read on till the end to discover the different types of survey questions and a few pointers on how to write survey questions.

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Types of Survey Questions

The first thing you need to know before you create surveys is the different types of questions you can use. Using a bunch of Yes/No questions will neither engage your respondents nor bring you any vital information. 

Leverage online survey tools and use different question types using robust online survey tools. Mix closed-ended, rating scale, open-ended, and more question types to create surveys that bring results. 

1) Multiple Choice Questions

Multiple choice survey questions offer the respondents an array of options to choose from. They have the option of selecting one or all the options that apply to them. 

Allowing the respondents to choose from a range of options makes it easier for them to complete the survey. The data acquired is clean and can easily be segregated for analysis.

Example:

What types of credit cards do you have?

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Discover

2) Likert Scale

Likert Scale questions are used to find out the extent to which a respondent agrees or disagrees with a particular question. 

The range of options includes extremes of opinions along with neutral opinions. These are often used to understand the respondents’ opinions on a given subject. 

There are either odd or even Likert scales with options ranging from “highly satisfied” to “not at all satisfied” or “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”. You can use either of these two Likert scale types to write survey questions based on the kind of data you want to collect. 

Example:

How satisfied are you with our products?

  • Very satisfied
  • Somewhat satisfied
  • Neutral
  • Somewhat dissatisfied
  • Very dissatisfied

Customize your survey & start collecting insights.

Choose from 150+ FREE survey templates.

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3)Ranking Scale

Ranking survey questions give a list of options and ask the respondents to rank them in the order of priority. Such questions reveal how people feel about each option. 

The only drawback is that they do not explain why respondents make certain choices. But you can easily resolve this by following it with an open-ended question. 

Example:

Rank the following food chains in the order of your preference. (1 = favorite & 5 = least favorite)

  • Domino’s
  • Pizza Hut
  • KFC
  • Subway
  • Starbucks
  • McDonald’s

4)Dichotomous

Dichotomous questions are short and basic survey questions that provide the respondents with two choices: Yes or No, True or False, Agree or Disagree, and so on. 

This type of question is commonly used to categorize respondents. A dichotomous question can be used as a screening question – i.e., to filter out respondents who do not qualify for your survey purpose. 

Example:

Do you have a driver’s license?

  • Yes
  • No

5) Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions do not limit the respondents’ responses to a few options. Instead, they are asked alongside an empty text box to allow respondents to provide detailed responses. 

Open-ended questions are usually paired with closed-ended questions. Open-ended questions aid surveys in understanding the respondents’ viewpoints in their own words. 

Example

How did you feel about our customer service?

Now that we have learned about the different types of survey questions you can use, let’s check some of the best survey practices you must follow to create surveys that engage respondents. 

→Check out the Type of Questions Voxco offers

Write Survey Questions with 7 Best Survey Practices

  1. Ask more close-ended questions.
  2. Maintain a diverse range of response options.
  3. Focus on one question at a time. 
  4. Use neutral wordings in your questions. 
  5. Avoid using jargon. 
  6. Keep the questions optional.
  7. Test the survey.

Now that we’ve taken a look at the different kinds of survey questions, it is time to frame the right questions. We have listed seven best survey practices to help you write survey questions. 

1) Ask more close-ended questions

Open-ended questions will undoubtedly give you a clearer picture of the customer’s perspective. 

However, if you ask a bunch of open-ended questions in the survey, the respondents may eventually drop off. Because such questions are time-consuming. Furthermore, since the respondents are free to express themselves, irrelevant data may be collected. 

An ideal survey has a combination of both open-ended and closed-ended questions. 

2) Maintain a diverse range of response options

The answer choices should reflect users’ emotions. They should include both extreme and more neutral options. 

For example,

Consider the following options for a question about a customer’s experience at a hotel – 

  • Extremely satisfied
  • Somewhat satisfied
  • Satisfied

Imagine if a customer was not dissatisfied with their stay. The choices given above will not be enough. Instead, go for a diverse range of options as given below – 

  • Extremely satisfied
  • Satisfied
  • Neutral
  • Dissatisfied
  • Extremely dissatisfied

Create engaging & powerful surveys with ease.

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3) Focus on one question at a time

 Each question in the survey should focus on a single subject at a time. Avoid merging multiple questions into a single one as they will only confuse the respondents. Keep an eye out for questions with “and” or “or”. 

For example, “Do you use both a mobile phone and desktop?” What if the respondent uses only one of them? They will be unable to answer this question correctly. 

It is best to split such questions into two questions. 

4) Use neutral wordings in your questions

The way questions are phrased has a big impact on the survey’s performance. Questions based on assumptions have the potential to lead respondents to a specific response. The use of subjective terms like “great”, and “amazing” can skew the results. 

For example, 

“How satisfied are you with our amazing customer service?” – The question seems to express a point of view that you want people to agree with. 

“How satisfied are you with our customer service?” – is a more subtle way to pose the question.

5) Avoid using jargon

Phrases and slang are not understood by all. For example, if a survey is being conducted for school children, asking a lot of technical questions would simply confuse them.

Therefore, it is best to stick to simple and clear language. A survey should be easy to understand and should not take more than a couple of minutes to complete. 

[Related read: Good Survey Questions]

6) Keep the questions optional

The respondents should not feel forced to give their answers. Sometimes, they may not know the answer to a question or may prefer to skip a particular question. 

It is always preferable to offer a “Not Applicable” option when drafting survey questions so that respondents can complete the survey with ease.

7) Test the survey

With online survey tools, a pre-final version of the survey can be shared with friends, coworkers, etc. This way you can test how participants respond to the questions. 

This will allow you to find out if the questions are easy to understand for everyone, or if the answer options are enough to express everyone’s opinion and more. 

These best survey practices will always help you create surveys fast. You can also use pre-made survey templates to learn how to create surveys before you become confident to write survey questions yourself.

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Conclusion

Someone rightly said, “If you want the right answers you must ask the right questions.” The more thoughtful you are when you create surveys, the closer you will be to obtaining accurate results.

Like a conversation, a survey should be organized by subject and unfold in a logical manner. Starting the survey with easy questions that respondents will find intriguing and engaging is generally beneficial. 

Throughout the survey, make an attempt to keep the survey engaging and avoid overloading responders with multiple difficult questions that follow one another. 

Use an online survey software that offers multiple questions and extends support in creating engaging surveys anytime you need. 

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Great Research
Fast Insights
Best-in-class ROI

Voxco’s platform helps you gather omnichannel feedback, measure sentiment, uncover insights and act on them.

Join 500 + global clients across 40+ countries